Reasons 3-13

Okay, so obviously if you follow me on FB and Instagram you know that I was having a blast at home for the last month and I didn't have enough spare moments to finish my project. Although, I did take the few quiet moments I had to jot down a few thoughts about most of my 13 Reasons 2013 was the Best Ever! I'll just throw it all together in one big ginormous blog post!

Reason 3: Gunner's Birth
I know I already talked about my pregnancy, but the day of Gunner's birth was easily my number one favorite day that has ever existed in the universe! It deserves its own post, so I've typed up all the details and the play by play and you can read about it Here. But in quick summary, its hard to find the words to describe how a single day changed my entire world. Anyone who has gone through it knows that it's a completely transformative experience. My labor with Gunner lasted 27 hours total. Well that includes total time from entering the hospital until his birth. Probably only about 6 or 7 hours of it was real, painful, can't sleep, can't think labor. Once I got the epidural I was able to relax and things moved really really quickly! I honestly look back at childbirth and think "I CAN'T WAIT to do that again!" I know, this is not a normal thing... but I loved it. Most of my family flew out to Hawaii to be with us; I was surrounded by so much love and positivity, I cannot wait for the next! (Note to family:You will be expected at every future birth of mine!)

Reason 4: Gunner
Based on everything I put out on the internet, you probably already know that this boy rules my life! He is my entire world. Sometimes I lay in bed at night and wish I could go scoop him up and snuggle him into bed with us... (I tried it ONE time and regretted it within 5 minutes.) Every decision I make is based on him, everyday, my plans revolve around him. To a lot of people this probably sounds incredibly limiting and frankly horrible. But its not. It's wonderful, and impossible to describe. 2013 was full of many big moments with Gunner: rolling over, crawling, "mamma", "pappa". But honestly, its the everyday, little moments with Gunner that have made 2013 the BEST EVER!

Reason 5: Brad
I have a brother named Brad (or as he likes to go by Batman Cop or Big Joe Ducky Ducky). He is almost 4 years older than me and as kids he was always my favorite! He taught me how to play POGS, let me look at his baseball card collection, and was my ally against our two older siblings. By the time we hit high school we had grown apart. After a few years of not really being a part of each other's lives I feel like in 2013 I really finally got my brother back! He even came to visit us in Hawaii when Gunner was born! I'm so grateful that I get to be his annoying nosy baby sister again!

 I decided to try something new! The next two Reasons are written by my one and only Zack! 

Reason 6: Zack Graduated from BYU-Hawaii Summa Cum Laude
I'm the one and only Zack, well her only Zack. Thinking back on graduating with my bachelors I think how blessed I have been by going to BYU-Hawaii. We went because we felt it was the right thing to do but I remember how everyone questioned us moving to Hawaii so I could play soccer. People told us I would suffer academically, but I ended up having a great academic experience that I would not have had at BYU Provo. This is because I got to work with Dr. Miller and Dr. Timothy who have had huge influences on my life and who I am very grateful to have worked with.  They are two men that I aspire to be like and I hope to have the impact on others that they have had on me. I also feel very blessed to have done so well and I owe a lot of that to Sally who supported me wholeheartedly each and every day and who inspired me and helped motivate me when I just wanted to go to the beach. At times it was difficult being in Hawaii but it will always have a special place in my heart because of the amazing people I met and the great experiences I had.

Reason 7: Zack was accepted to Columbia
This had to be one of the proudest accomplishments of my life. It is hard for me to describe what it feels like to be accepted to such a prestigious school.  I feel humbled to have this opportunity and it has been such an exciting experience.  It is great being able to work with some of the most intelligent and creative young people around.  I never really thought I wanted to be at an Ivy League school and I still don't think I would want to as an undergraduate but as a graduate student it has been a great experience and I encourage everyone who reads this to go for it! Aspire to be great in what you want to do and then go for it! It has totally been worth it and I am so glad I had professors who pushed me to go for it!

 AWWW. I didn't even pay him to say those nice things about me! He's the best!

Reason 8:We Moved to NYC

I feel like this is completely self explanatory. I have never been anywhere like New York City! Moving to New York City was one of the scariest things I've ever done! It was a huge trial of my faith, and boy have we seen miracles in our lives because of it! I NEVER could have imagined we would love it as much as we do! Our life in NYC is so full and blessed! This has been one of those defining chapters for our family! 

Reason 9: Our Apartment
I LOVE our apartment! We've never lived in such a clean, beautiful, bright place since we've been married! Getting into student housing was one of those miracles for our family! I was freaked out when I started looking at housing options, but our a apartment is better than I could have imagined! Plus, we got to furnish the apartment (again a first for us!) So I finally got to put my own little spin on our place! It is by FAR my favorite apartment I've ever lived in!

Reason 10:Sharing the Gospel
We have seen so many friends learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ and be baptized into our church! Living in New York City has given us amazing opportunities to befriend the missionaries and share our testimonies to help the work of The Lord! Witnessing others build a relationship with Christ and show faith and make sacrifices and get baptized has strengthened my own faith massively! It has been beautiful to witness Jesus Christ alive in so many people's lives! Some of my sweetest and most powerful experiences have been this year! We are so grateful that we've been able to be a part of these people's journeys and for the lifelong friendships we have made through it!

Reason 11: Old Friends
This was a year of reuniting with old friends! One of my oldest, best friends lives in New York City and getting to be close to her has been so much fun!! I also had three of my childhood friends come up for a visit! So cool! Plus, over the summer I was able to visit with all of my friends from college! It's amazing to me that somehow I can still have all these people in my life! How blessed!

We started this year surrounded by amazing friends in Hawaii! Even though I was ready to leave the island we really hated saying goodbye to such good friends! Thank goodness for technology and social media! We can still keep in touch and I love seeing where life is taking everyone! It is so fun to see families growing and changing and even though we can't physically be there, we can still be a part of each other's lives!

Reason 12: New Friends
We have made new friends in New York that I know will be lifelong friends! Our closest friends, the Dilleys, are moving to San Fran in Feb and we are absolutely devastated! They have been a lifesaver to us! When you live so far from family, your friends become your family and I can't believe we were lucky enough to stumble upon this little family! I'm not sure what we'll do without them... (Other than cry ourselves to sleep every night).. Haha! But, we feel blessed to be surrounded by so many interesting, positive, and loving people! Its been a blast to get to know so many people who are so different from us! I never expected to make such good friends in such a short amount of time! 

Reason 13: The Future is Bright
Zack will be graduating in May and that means a new adventure awaits us! The possibilities are completely infinite! We could go anywhere and do any thing! Zack has applied to 8 PhD programs located all over the place and we're also considering taking a break from school for a bit! I realized this week that right now we have the opportunity to do anything we want! There's nothing stopping us from doing something big! 

We're all healthy, happy, and confident that The Lord has some big plans in store for our family! We are so excited for whatever comes next! The final and greatest reason that 2013 was the best ever is that it has set us up for an amazing 2014!!

I hope you all had an amazing holiday and New Year! I'll update soon with all our holiday bucket list festivities!